SOTO (South of Toorak)

Last weekend I brunched with my lovely friend Tina at the new hot spot SOTO (formerly Pizza e Vino) which stands for South of Toorak. I’d been to that general area last time I saw Tina at Wall Cafe in Balaclava on the day of the horrendous hail. This had to be a better experience!

And I was not disappointed. SOTO was fabulous – quite large but still cosy with tables to the sides away from the draft of the front door and a dining section at the back where it looked like it could be curtained off for a more private affair.

And the food was delicious. I had the bircher muesli which was the right consistency for me somewhere between mould-able and in need of a soup spoon. The hazlenuts and chunks of apricot complimented the slightly sour natural yoghurt on the side. Tina received a very tempting looking avocado, fetta, tomato and snowpea tendril on toast dish that was not over-oiled and looked very pretty stacked with a squeeze of lemon The coffees were at my ideal temperature and I finished with a hot chocolate.

I would recommend popping in for breakfast and will certainly think about going back for a lunch and/or dinner at this charming part of Melbourne that I’ve planned on getting back to for a morning or afternoon of browsing and shopping.

517 Malvern Road, Toorak.

Tel: + 61 3 9826 8815

Ming’s Noodle & Sushi Bar (254 Smith Street, Collingwood)

I love the wonton noodle soup from Ming’s Noodle & Sushi Bar. It is healthy (there is no oil slick left in the bowl and there is a proud “No MSG” sign!), tasty and the serving is huge. Best of all it only costs $7.90 although I have extra veggies and it takes me up to a staggering $8.40 (I kind of felt like I was ripping them off!).

The couple who own/run the shop are lovely and so very Chinese which is kind of comforting in a “I miss my Chinese side of the family” way.

I highly recommend Ming’s for a delicious, cheap, filling meal. The other dishes look great too but I just can’t go past the wonton noodle soup!